Unknown Food Critic: Top French Quarter Fest food picks



Posted on April 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Food is an important part of any Louisiana festival, and we’re not talking about corndogs and funnel cake from any old event vendors.

Locals look for local food, and as it has grown over the years the French Quarter Festival has become a wildly diverse showcase of New Orleans flavors. Most of the food vendors are local restaurants, plus a few caterers, specialty food suppliers and even a grocery store. One of the fun parts about this free event is the opportunity to stroll between stages and see how some of the oldest and newest names in New Orleans dining represent themselves in the festival setting.

Here’s a primer on some of the stands I’ll be looking for this year.

Tujague’s Restaurant – this landmark restaurant serves some of its best-known specialties from its booth, including brisket.

Muriel’s Jackson Square – you can see the restaurant from its vending booth, and find its signature crawfish and goat cheese crepes on the dining room menu as well. Somehow it’s more fun to eat this delicate dish on the street.

Vaucresson Sausage Co. – the Creole style hot sausage and crawfish sausage from this venerable producer is an essential ingredient to festival flavor.

The Joint – one of the city’s premier barbecue shops sets up its stand at French Quarter Fest with spicy chaurice sausage po-boys on the menu.

Walker’s BBQ – another festival favorite, the makers of the famous cochon de lait po-boy from Jazz Fest also serve their signature sandwich down by the river.

Dreamy Weenies – a newer restaurant in the French Quarter, serving lavishly dressed hot dogs with New Orleans flair (look for the red beans topping) and vegetarian options.

Café Reconcile – the nonprofit teaching café, which doubles as a job readiness training program, brings its well-loved Thursday lunch special of white beans and shrimp to the festival.

The Three Muses – this Marigny small plates restaurant serves feta fries and lamb sliders, both ideal for quick festival snacks.

Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. – jambalaya seems like a natural for Louisiana festivals, but few can measure up to the pork and black eyed pea version served by the Mid-City restaurant at the festival.

Antoine’s Restaurant – another landmark restaurant, the city’s oldest, goes way outside its normal white table cloth realm to serve baked Alaska for the festival masses. It’s a one-of-a-kind dessert on the streets.